The Cubs just dropped two of three to the Reds and find themselves a wee bit closer to a top-5 draft lottery selection as the Giants come to town. This would have been a really great matchup a few seasons ago when both teams were contenders, but now the only real novelty is the irregular start time.
Drew Smyly takes the bump in the opener as he attempts to wash off the stank of his most recent start in St. Louis a few days ago. The lefty went just 2.1 innings with seven earned runs on five hits, walking three against as many strikeouts. The real problem was that three of those five hits left the yard. Smyly has been very good otherwise, though he did give up five runs to the Giants on July 30 in San Francisco.
Fellow lefty Carlos Rodón is going for the visitors as he gets more familiar with pitching at Wrigley, something he might like to consider doing on a more regular basis in the future. The former White Sox starter has been excellent this year and appears to be putting the kibosh on those rumblings about a late-season falloff over the last few games. Though he did have a clunker against the Padres, he’s logged double-digit Ks in three of his last four starts.
Even counting that rough outing, Rodón has allowed seven earned runs with 33 strikeouts to eight walks over his last 23 innings. Five of those runs came in one game, which tells you how dominant he’s been otherwise. His fastball averaged 96.1 in his most recent outing, slightly higher than his season average.
Rodón eliminated the sinker after the 2018 season and now throws his heater about 61% of the time, then he uses the slider at a 32% clip. When you can get by as a starter with basically a two-pitch mix, it means both offerings are nasty as hell. His stuff is good enough to eliminate any real platoon splits, with righties just barely edging out their left-handed counterparts by a few wOBA points.
This is going to be a very difficult matchup for the Cubs, and not just because of Rodón’s ability to miss bats. He’s also among the best in the league at limiting homers and he’s facing a team that isn’t known for its power.
Now watch second baseman Nick Madrigal pop a leadoff shot. Seiya Suzuki has been swinging a hot bat and he’s batting second in right, followed by Franmil Reyes as the DH and Nico Hoerner batting cleanup. Yan Gomes is the catcher, Alfonso Rivas is at first, Nelson Velázquez is in left, and David Bote is at third. Christopher Morel finishes the lineup batting ninth in center.
First pitch from Wrigley is at 3:05pm CT on Marquee Sports Network and 670 The Score.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 9, 2022